Passing eras

The news over the weekend that the great racehorse, Might and Power, had died, left me feeling sad. I’m not a committed horse racing enthusiast, but I’ve been following it for years.

My grandparents were big into horseracing and had membership at Moonee Valley. I have strong memories staying with them, and the radio in the corner with the form being discussed by commentators and tipsters in the particularly nasal voice people in the industry seemed to have. Each would get the form guide and do their homework, making scribbled notes. They would take me along to the races regularly, and I enjoyed it. I remember seeing Manikato race and wine. They used to attend the Breakfast with the Stars function in the Spring and took me along once.

I never got into it as they did, but I went to a lot of big race days and would keep an eye on it through the year. I would bet big sometimes – multiple hundreds – but it was mainly for fun (and I won more than I lost). Like a lot of people, the real attraction were the horses. That’s the thing about horseracing – you follow something living and animate. These horses throb with life. They’re beautiful, powerful beasts, sleek and elegant. They had personalities too, and it was hard not to fall in love with some.

I fell in love with Might and Power. I backed him a bit and he always won for me, but that was secondary. He was a big, good looking horse that forced the pace on the track and broke the will of the horses following. He knew he was good and come race day he wanted to reinforce that by leading from start to finish, cranking it up the further it went. Just look at his Caulfield Cup win – you won’t see a more dominant win in a big race than that.

He had a great record, but injury foreshortened his racing career. In the years after he would pop up in the news now and again, joining a parade of past champions, or visiting the sick. He was a spirited horse of great character.

He was a good age – 27 – but it remains a sad passing. I’m sure there’s a lot who feel as I do today. Horses like Might and Power bring to life vivid memories and recall to us times past. Memories of their great feats unlock the memories we associate with them, the people we knew and loved, the times we shared together, the stories and laughter.

The death of Tim Brooke-Taylor will likely invoke similar memories for many others. I grew up in The Goodies generation, though I was never an aficionado. I had friends at school who would rush home to watch it, and who the next day would share or regale us with the antics from the previous night’s episode.

It was a bit meh for me, but it’s funny how the news of his death impacts upon me – almost as if by association. For me, it’s like a song you hear that always reminds you of a particular time in life. The Goodies do that for me but through my friends of the period.

In a sign of the times, he’s another victim of C-19. Just to make me feel old, he was also 78.

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